On July 30, the men of Becca's Bachelorette season reunited for a special episode, but one face was noticeably absent. Lincoln Adim wasn't at The Bachelorette: Men Tell All for reasons that are pretty obvious — if you've been paying attention to social media or news outlets covering Bachelorette content that doesn't take place on the show. But, if you haven't been paying close attention to all that stuff and you just tune in Mondays at 8 p.m., you may not have even noticed that Lincoln didn't appear on the special, and you definitely wouldn't have known he wasn't invited to attend the Men Tell All at all. And that's a huge problem, because he wasn't included for a very serious reason. Not addressing Lincoln's off-screen behavior during the Men Tell All did a huge disservice to fans who deserve the full story, even if it doesn't make the show look too great.
If you missed it, shortly after Becca's season began airing, Lincoln was convicted of indecent assault and battery for a 2016 incident on a cruise ship in which he allegedly groped and assaulted a woman, according to a statement to Bustle from the Suffolk County District Attorney Press Secretary Jake Wark. While the conviction came after the show had wrapped filming, Lincoln's casting background check failed to notice the arrest on his record.
In a statement to TMZ, The Bachelorette's production company, Warner Bros., shifted blame for the incident onto Lincoln for allegedly concealing this aspect of his past:
"No one on The Bachelorette production had any knowledge about the incident or charges when Lincoln Adim was cast, and he himself denied ever having engaged in or been charged with any sexual misconduct."
"We employ a well-respected and highly experienced third party who has done thousands of background checks consistent with industry standards to do a nationwide background check in this case. The report we received did not reference any incident or charge relating to the recent conviction — or any other charges relating to sexual misconduct."
"We are currently investigating why the report did not contain this information."
While the show couldn't fix the fact that Lincoln had been on their show in the first place, he had a seemingly diminished role going forward. When he was kicked off the show a few episodes later, his exit interview was not shown. His cast photos were taken down from the ABC press site. And, when taping the Men Tell All episode, the network declined to bring Lincoln back.
Host Chris Harrison explained why to Entertainment Tonight, saying:
"I did not want him here nor did he deserve to earn the right to be here. He forfeited that right obviously with what he did, and lying to us and deceiving everybody. So no, I'm very glad that he was not here and he was not extended an invitation."
Harrison's statement is frustratingly vague, refusing to actually name what Lincoln did and simply relying on everyone already knowing what he's talking about. But what's most frustrating is that the show itself made no mention of Lincoln's absence or conviction on Monday night. It's simply not good enough to assume that everyone already knows (or hope they don't). For those in the know, Lincoln's absence was the elephant in the room. Those who didn't know were genuinely confused.
Viewers simply deserved, at minimum, some sort of brief opening or closing statement from Harrison — even if it was just a title card with words on the screen. The show could have even added resources for viewers, such as the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline (800-656-4673).
It was an opportunity for the show to be forthcoming about a serious subject, especially in the era of #MeToo, and prove to viewers that it takes this incident seriously, is working to ensure casting won't miss something like this again, and to clearly inform viewers about why Lincoln wasn't on stage.
The show has proved it can handle these sorts of tough subjects before. After an incident last year on Bachelor in Paradise where claims of sexual misconduct were raised on set, Harrison sat the cast down for a broadcasted discussion on consent. One that actually opened up a really important, sensitively treated conversation between the cast mates themselves and the viewers watching. (An investigation into the claims later found no evidence of wrongdoing and filming resumed as scheduled.) At the time, many viewers tweeted their appreciation of the show's candidness.
This was a chance for The Bachelorette to follow BiP's precedent and tackle the issue head on. It's one thing to want to protect the identity of the winner until the finale, but it's another thing entirely to pretend like the show didn't cast a now-convicted sex offender. Viewers can't fill in the blanks on such a serious incident without having all of the information, and the show never should have asked them to. The franchise has shown it can do better, and next time it should.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.